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Los Lunas Cornerstone

Church of the Nazarene

A Great Start (1 Kings 2 & 3)

    1 and 2 Kings starts the fast downward spiral of the spiritual state of the nation of Israel. It’s actually a very interesting history to see unfold, how quickly things go from great with David’s reign, to utter ruin and the collapse of two nations because the leaders of Israel chose not to follow the Lord. Just as we’ve done with previous books of the Bible we’ve studied, I want to start by looking at a video overview of the entire book of 1 Kings before we go in-depth.
VIDEO
    Alright, so let’s jump right in. 1 Kings starts with the end of King David’s reign. The first chapter tells us that he was an old and feeble man, unable to rule his kingdom anymore, close to death. He had been told by the Lord that Solomon would be the one to reign after him, but once again, one of his other sons, Adonijah, tried to take a page from Absalom’s book and take the throne for himself. However, this time, David interfered and put down the rebellion before it gained any sort of credibility.
    Solomon was set up as the king of Israel, anointed by the priest, blessed by David. 1 Kings 2 opens like this, “As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son,” David’s time came, and he wanted to make sure his son Solomon, as king, was set up to be the best king possible. Think about all the wisdom and experience David had! He had over 40 years of experience on the throne, and I’m sure there was a wealth of advice he could have given to Solomon, but this is what he said to him:
    “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” (2:2-4)
    Of all the things he could have said, all the advice he could have given, his number one piece of advice to his son was simply to follow the Lord. He told Solomon to be strong. How does he say that is achieved?
    He tells Solomon to walk in God’s ways. This is some of what Solomon would have known about God’s ways:
He would have known that God’s way is righteousness.
He would have known that God’s way is justice.
He would have known that God’s way is to fear the Lord.
He would have known that God’s way is to love God with all his heart and soul.
He would have known that God’s way is holy.
He would have known that God’s way is serving the Lord.
He would have known that God’s way is to delight in the law of the Lord.
He would have known that God’s way is blameless.
He would have known that God’s way is good and right.
    David told his son Solomon, the king, to walk in this way.
    He told Solomon to keep God’s STATUTES, and that is your first bulletin blank this morning. Keep His laws that He has written down. Keep God’s commandments, the things He has said. Keep His ordinances, the ways He has said to live your life. And keep His TESTIMONIES, which is your next bulletin blank. Hold true to the things that He has proved to you about who He is through His treatment of you. These are the things David tells Solomon to hold to.
    In verse 4, David says that if Solomon will do this, then God’s promise will come true, that there will always be someone from the line of David who will sit on the throne of Israel. David and Solomon both had the assurance of God’s promise that if they just walked with Him, their line would always be the ruler of Israel! That’s a high assurance and promise from the Most High and Almighty!
    Not only that, but Solomon basically had the assurance that if he just walked in God’s ways and kept His words, then Solomon’s reign would be a successful one, in every way that was truly important. He would be a great king, just like his father David, if he did as David charged him to do.
    David’s 40 year reign came to an end and 1 Kings 2:12 tells us this, “And Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.”
    His kingdom was firmly established. Solomon had his kingdom set up for him entirely, in a good political state, ready to go, and all he had to do to keep things in order, to keep his kingdom firmly established was walk with the Lord.
    And Solomon starts his kingship by doing just that. He walks with the Lord. Let’s move on to 1 Kings 3, which is perhaps one of the most well-known passages about Solomon. 1 Kings 3 includes the conversation between the Lord and Solomon in a dream when God tells Solomon to ask for whatever he wants God to give him. Why? Why would God bless Solomon in such a way? Look at 1 Kings 3:3.
    “Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David,”
    Solomon loved the Lord! He started off really great! He was doing everything that David charged him to do. This verse says he was walking in the statutes of his father DAVID, and that’s your next bulletin blank, and that was a good thing!
    I’m reminded of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” Paul knew that he was walking in step with Christ, walking in God’s ways, and so he urged the Corinthian church to imitate him, to do as he did because he was walking with the Lord.
    It was good for Solomon to walk in David’s ways because David walked in God’s ways, even when he did things wrong, even when he sinned, he was quick to repent and quick to turn his heart back to the Lord. I remind us again that David is called a man after God’s own heart. It was good for Solomon to walk in David’s ways.
    Now, we know that David had his weaknesses, and Solomon did too. The rest of 1 Kings 3:3 says this, “Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.” You can write that down in your bulletin too, if you want. Solomon still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.
    Here’s why that was a problem: the high places were places where pagans sacrificed animals, and sometimes humans as well, and burned incense, and did ritual worship of their pagan gods. It was not a place where the Lord, God Almighty would be honored. It was a place where abominable things would happen.
    And, if there’s one thing we know from Israel’s history, it’s that you cannot serve God and other gods. Idolatry is strictly forbidden in the Bible. There can only be one God that we serve. This is clearly an issue for Solomon, but, we can see that like his father David before him, Solomon initially had a desire to do what was right in the Lord’s eyes. Even if the practice of that wasn’t always perfect, his heart seemed to have been in the right place.
    This is why God spoke to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he wanted from the Lord. Solomon replied that he wanted the Lord to give him wisdom. “Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
    To me, it seems that Solomon was already pretty wise. After all, it takes a certain amount of wisdom to humbly accept that you don’t have any clue what you’re doing and you need help. It takes at least some wisdom to know that you need more wisdom.
    God gives him the wisdom he asked for and more. God completely blessed Solomon, not just with wisdom, but with wealth and honor as well.
    I like Solomon’s story, because I think he mirrors what happens many times in our modern times with people in their walk with the Lord. What happens with Solomon is that he starts off really well. He starts off like David, following the Lord, loving the Lord, walking in the Lord’s ways and seeking to do His will. Then the pleasures of life lure him away and he spends a good part of his life chasing the pleasures of life. But…before his time is done, he realizes that his father David was right, that nothing was more important than walking with God, and Solomon returns to the Lord.
    
1. If God asked you the same thing He asked Solomon, that God would give you one thing, what would it be?

2. In 1 Kings 1:20, Bathsheba tells David that all the eyes of the kingdom were on him to see who would sit on the throne. Who sits on the throne in your heart?

3. To ensure God sits on our throne, what does David’s charge (1 Kings 2:2-3) say you should do? Which of these areas need better discipline in your life?

 

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